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History of Aquatic Science. August 28, 2008. In the beginning…. Human beings have always been fascinated by water. It has a long history of religious importance, particularly as a purifier

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in the beginning
In the beginning…
  • Human beings have always been fascinated by water.
  • It has a long history of religious importance, particularly as a purifier
    • The Greeks and Romans worshipped and made sacrifices unto their gods of water (Poseidon and Neptune, respectively)
    • Practitioners of Christianity practice baptism and anointing with Holy Water, Hindu and Muslim faiths observe ablutions amid prayer and fasting, etc.
slide3
Aside from religious significance, populations and eventually civilizations established themselves around bodies of water.
  • This ensured that these populations would always have a source of not only hydration, but also food (in the form of fish) and irrigation for crops.
aquatic mythos sea monsters
Aquatic Mythos : Sea Monsters
  • The Greeks believed that a sea monster called the Kraken destroyed the ancient city of Argos. He was believed to be a gargantuan squid.
cthulhu cloverfield and others
Cthulhu, Cloverfield, and others
  • The vast unknown of the open ocean still inspires authors to create stories about what may lie beneath the deep.
  • “The Call of Cthulhu”: short “story” by H.P. Lovecraft, created a cult following, esp. in light of the “bloop” detected by NOAA radar in May 1997.
  • J.J. Abrams’ Cloverfield fiction began as a viral YouTube campaign about a monster possibly created by a hugely popular Japanese soft drink.
slide11
“That is not dead which can eternally lie; And with strange eons even death may die…” –Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu

The Cthulhu Mythos has inspired many artists and musicians, probably most notably James Hetfield of Metallica:

Excerpt from “The Thing That Should Not Be,” from the Master of Puppets album

seafaring circumnavigation
Seafaring & Circumnavigation
  • Early Chinese and European navigators successfully mapped various parts of the Earth by sea.
  • The astrolabe is an invention which assists a mariner’s navigation by way of the stars
  • Flat Earth assumption by the Europeans was revised after the discovery of the West Indies by Columbus
  • Ferdinand Magellan was the first to circumnavigate, although he didn’t actually accomplish this (his ship did).
early study of water
Early study of water
  • Although most connotations of alchemy relate to the European Dark Ages, alchemy dates back to ancient Egypt.
  • The crux of alchemy dictated that there were only 4 major elements: Earth, Fire, Wind, and Water
  • One of the many goals of alchemy was the conversion of common substances into Gold, but also water, as its importance to life was recognized, valued, and even fought over
water and disease
Water and Disease
  • It wasn’t until fairly recently that thinking men discovered that disease travels easily in water.
  • Cholera outbreaks in Europe were the direct result of open sewage and the notion that dumping waste in water somehow made it less noxious. Cholera continues to ravage 3rd world countries today.
  • Louis Pasteur, Joseph Lister (19th Century)
marine and aquatic biology
Marine and Aquatic Biology
  • Today we now recognize thousands of different species from all kingdoms of life which reside in water.
  • In spite of this, the oceans remain even more unexplored than outer space.
  • Ocean biomes are thought to be the least dense in terms of life. Even the hottest deserts and the coldest tundra in the world contain significantly more organisms per square mile than the oceans.
water is essential to life
Water is ESSENTIAL to Life
  • Water has been called the “universal solvent”
  • Perfect pH (7): life is pH sensitive
  • Polar molecule: sticks together (cohesive), and sticks easily to other things (adhesive)
    • Good for capillary action
  • Less dense as a solid than as a liquid
    • Ice floats. Why is this important?
slide19
Water moderates heat. It heats up and cools down slowly (due to its relatively high specific heat: 1 cal/g °C).
high heat of vaporization
High heat of vaporization
  • Your body loads up heat in the water it carries and releases it in sweat which then evaporates and cools you.
surface tension
Surface Tension
  • Water molecules have a tendency to hold themselves together more tightly at their surface. This is surface tension (property of cohesion).
  • This is why falling into water from great height can kill you almost as easily as falling onto solid ground.
slide23
Quiz
  • T/F Oceans remain more unexplored than space.
  • What do many major religions consider the purpose of water?
  • Why did early civilizations like Egypt and Mesopotamia build themselves around major bodies of water?
  • How did early populations explain much of the unknown and often tragic phenomena of the oceans (destruction of Argos, loss of ships, etc)?
  • Name one of two men who were instrumental in understanding how disease travels through water.
  • What property of a water molecule allows it to be cohesive and adhesive?
  • What is the specific heat of water?
  • What property of water allows dense objects to sometimes float on its surface?